Jan 26, 2016 11:00 PM
NH1 News Political Director
MANCHESTER – With two weeks to go until New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary, the presidential campaigns turn their get out the vote efforts into high gear.
With that in mind, this reporter and NH1 News photo journalist Todd Ziemek covered the grassroots outreach efforts of six Republican presidential campaigns in just four hours on Tuesday.
10:15am – Kasich
Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s campaign headquarters, just off of I-293 on the west side of Manchester, is packed with staffers and volunteers.
“We have volunteers from all over the country who are coming into New Hampshire, to make calls, to knock doors. We’re going to have a huge deployment coming in mid-week. It really doesn’t stop,” regional field director Scott Blake told NH1 News. “Here at headquarters our job is to make sure we’re getting them out to knock on the doors, make the phone calls, and talk to the voters we need to be talking to to win on Feb. 9.”
Blake added that “we think we’re talking to the voters need to be talking to. And the data we’re using we think is extremely accurate, to make sure that when we’re knocking on the door, that person has a likelihood of supporting john Kasich.”
Blake said that the data comes from polling the campaign’s conducted, as well as from mining Facebook and Twitter.
Asked where all the out of state (many from Ohio and other Midwestern states) volunteers are staying, Blake said “we've got two guys sleeping upstairs on air mattresses and heat their food on hot plates every night.”
11:00am – Bush
Volunteers for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush are knocking on doors in Windham. The volunteers, from New York and Washington DC, have been canvassing across the state the past couple of weeks.
Bush New Hampshire communications director Jesse Hunt told NH1 News that the campaign’s up to 40 full time staffers, adding that “it’s been an incremental build up and right now we have a very strong robust organization here in New Hampshire.
Bush’s campaign staff is the largest among the contenders for the GOP nomination.
“It’s a multi-faceted approach, going door to door, making phone calls, basically going to where the voters are. Reaching out to them, engaging with them at town halls following up after those town halls. About fifty percent of the voters decide in the last week so you want to be the campaign that's engaging with them the most and that's what we're able to do with our large operation,” Hunt said. “We’re going to go out and use our strength in numbers to make sure we’re communicating with voters.”
11:30am – Cruz
Volunteers for Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas are door knocking in Londonderry. The two who spoke with NH1 News said they were from New Jersey and Michigan.
“I feel like i can't wait for the primary in New Jersey to make a difference. I have to do it now,” Ulana Campbell said.
12:15pm – Rubio
We’re back in Manchester, at Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida’s headquarters, in an office building on the north edge of downtown.
“We have dozens and dozens of people in this office every day making calls, and doing doors and every we’re we’re doing thousands of calls, thousands of doors,” senior adviser Jim Merrill shared.
Asked by NH1 News what they’re doing different that could give them the edge over the competition, Merrill said “we do have a very robust vibrant grassroots operation. We've been doing doors since early spring, which no one else has been doing. So we’re very encouraged in the amount of voters contacts we’ve made.”
1:00pm – Paul
We travel about 10 blocks south on Elm Street to Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky campaign headquarters, which like Rubio’s HQ is brimming with activity.
“We’ve always relied very heavily on our grassroots efforts,” said senior adviser Mike Biundo. “We want to make sure that we touch as many voters as possible as many times as possible before election day.”
Biundo told NH1 News that “we're working with a lot of grassroots people with a lot of passion which means they're excited about their candidate. they're not just hired people who are just going to come in and go through the motions. We have people who are enthusiastic about working for their candidate, so we think that will give us an edge.”
1:30pm – Christie
Our last stop, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s campaign headquarters in Bedford, which like the competition, is crowded with staffers and volunteers making calls.
“Gov. Christie has been up here a lot doing town meetings. That has generated the ground force and it’s really a volunteer ground force that he’s been able to put together.
It's organic,” shared senior adviser Joel Maiola.
“We're not busing people in. these are people that he has personally met and seen at these town hall meetings that last two or two and a half hours. That in turn has generated wide support in a lot of pockets in the state that has turned out to be our ground force,” Maiola touted.
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